Break the vicious circle of poverty

Foundation Open Hand „Swisshand“

Found­ed in 1968

Swis­s­hand is spe­cial­ized in Pover­ty Reduc­tion Pro­grammes. As experts con­firm, a sus­tain­able reduc­tion in pover­ty is not pos­si­ble with­out cre­at­ing a steady income, and we ful­ly con­cen­trate on income gen­er­a­tion for the active poor, which is our key com­pe­tence. We want to show sol­i­dar­i­ty by giv­ing hun­dreds of women/families the chance of over­com­ing pover­ty, year by year, in each of our part­ner regions. We endeav­our to achieve this by start­ing or improv­ing small busi­ness activ­i­ties and giv­ing repayable loans, com­bined with a short busi­ness empow­er­ment train­ing. Our expe­ri­ence in more than 80 pro­gramme regions, espe­cial­ly in Africa, brings us to the con­clu­sion that per­sons, fam­i­lies and the whole com­mu­ni­ty get more self-con­fi­dence and improve hous­ing, health care and the use of edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties after hav­ing start­ed or extend­ed their small busi­ness activities.

The most impor­tant ele­ments of our pro­gramme sup­port are:
— Trans­fer of know-how, step by step, dur­ing some months.
— Build­ing up the loan fund of the pro­gramme region.
— Mon­i­tor­ing on the basis of quar­ter­ly reports.

In some coun­tries, a nation­al or region­al women’s asso­ci­a­tion is our pro­gramme part­ner, in oth­ers it is a local devel­op­ment NGO or small coop­er­a­tive sav­ings & cred­it unions. In some coun­tries, part­ner­ships have also been built up with dioce­san devel­op­ment departments.

The main tar­get regions are: east­ern, cen­tral and west­ern Africa; areas with inex­is­tent or dif­fi­cult access to microcredit.

Our part­ner insti­tu­tions have to form a vol­un­tary pro­gramme com­mit­tee for the super­vi­sion of the pro­gramme and to recruit a (paid) pro­gramme coor­di­na­tor (cred­it and train­ing offi­cer) for each pro­gramme area.

The pro­gramme coor­di­na­tor of the pro­gramme region is respon­si­ble for infor­ma­tion, the pre-selec­tion of appli­cants, pro­pos­als to the pro­gramme com­mit­tee, busi­ness train­ing for the approved clients, loan dis­burse­ment, fol­low-up and repay­ment col­lec­tion in the pro­gramme region and reporting.

Well man­aged insti­tu­tions with office infra­struc­ture, skilled in pover­ty reduc­tion, with a base in one of the tar­get regions and good links to poor com­mu­ni­ties can send their appli­ca­tion with last annu­al report and finan­cial state­ment to

How Swis­s­hand is chang­ing lives in Ugan­da” (2022) film by Cor­nel Mösli

Foundation Open Hand — Swisshand


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